8.02.2007

Arc Rebellion



In the 900 miles between Puebo, CO, and Boise, ID, there are approximately three places to take a piss. Today, I proudly tromped upon them all. Unfortunately, that also meant my second straight day of pretty much forever in the car, which has kept me spectral around these parts. Oh, and limited in my ability to feel about Garnett.

I’ve got to say, what murky reaction I can manage right now falls somewhere in between Billups’s exultation and Dr. LIC’s morbidity. How couldn’t it? This team will represent the Eastern Conference in next year’s Finals, or at least they should. All three are responsible adults who know their games, and can fit together with no one getting diminished. But I worry, seriously worry, that next season they’ll be the cause of more anxiety than pithy fireworks.

While I’m as staunch a supporter of the meaningless months as anyone watching the league, at this point the narratives of Garnett, Allen and Pierce (not to mention the Celtics at a franchise) are bound up in to win, or to not do so. We’ve grown so accustomed to teams like the ’07 or ’06 Pistons gliding through the eighty-two and then crinkling in the playoffs; I worry that, lyrical as this team might prove to be, they’re setting themselves up to be one of these regular season flowers. Look at it like this: this team is about the ring. With every “I can’t believe this fucking thing is happening” games in January, we’ll be forced to wonder if it’s not all some kind of saintly fever dream. It’ll all feel like one big joke, just waiting for the May punchline.



Also, this isn’t the kind of career-defining experiment that Iverson/Melo was. That helped us discover who those men really were, and added a chapter to their tales that had nothing to do with the bottom line. I don’t think there’s any doubt that this trio of gratiutude will be able to operate in the same panel, for days on end. Couple that with the preceding neurosis, and I really don’t know how nuts I’ll be about watching them all the times they get nationally televised (BECAUSE MY LEAGUE PASS BELONGS TO THE BOBCATS). Of course that’s a gross exaggeration—still, to return to the theme, this is about getting a job done. Nothing’s gain or lost if KG, Ray Ray, and P-Squared can live together when nothing’s at stake, when their talent and maturity can push them past anyone coasting. We’re waiting for when history beckons, for when this pat assemblage in thrown into more uncertain waters.

Let me end this with some FD characteristic Boston-bashing: sorry, but your team has rented credibility. This is by no stretch of the imagination a revitalization of the Celtics brand. It isn’t a dynasty, it’s a three-year window. These aren’t lifelong leprechauns, they’re stragglers wandering in from the proverbial cold. You’re still saddled with a brain-addled GM and a subpar coach. And while Simmons’ riff about McHale helping from beyond enemy lines was cute, nothing in this scenario evokes the storied Celtics network. Ainge happened to be in the right place at the right time; it could have happened to any team in the NBA, and it just happened to befall its most decorated. You didn’t will or earn it, and it’s not a reflection on any legacy or organizational culture. If you think it can somehow jumpstart that tradition, you’re putting the chicken before the egg.



Extra: To the commenter who was so fiery over Smush, let me echo Dr. LIC: Smush Parker is the Association’s finest in-game dunker.

(Apologies for resorting to two animal photos. I'm on the verge of disintegration and can't really communicate with myself.)

53 Comments:

At 8/02/2007 3:55 AM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Boo. I'm gonna pretend that I only read Billups' post.

 
At 8/02/2007 3:58 AM, Blogger Alex said...

yeah actually this trade has made me pleased to be a young celtics fan...i'm close to 21 so i only experienced any real celtics success as a fetus. ive sort of felt like a steward on the throne ever since i fully began to understand the depth of my team's history, but now i can watch a team of mine succeed and not look over my shoulder for ghosts. if aj/gg/etc had grown up into contenders, we would have had to deal with a bunch of halfhearted legend appearances and accompanying montages...this mercenary stuff allows us to look another way and cut through all that fluff. they're in my city and they're going to win. we're done here. awesome.

 
At 8/02/2007 4:00 AM, Blogger Alex said...

actually who am i kidding there are going to be so many montages, god dammit

 
At 8/02/2007 6:16 AM, Blogger T. said...

Smush Parker is the Association’s finest in-game dunker.


In the non-star division, I prefer the Slovenian stylings of one Bostjan "Boki" Nachbar.

Star division, as long as he's playing, Vincent Carter will rule the roost.

 
At 8/02/2007 8:03 AM, Blogger Luis Villa said...

"there are going to be so many montages, god dammit" may be the finest summary of the deal I've yet read.

 
At 8/02/2007 8:05 AM, Anonymous Cyanide said...

In the non-star division, I prefer the Slovenian stylings of one Bostjan "Boki" Nachbar.

Co-sign. It's amazing that on a team with Vince, RJ, and Hassan Adams last year, Boki probably had my jaw dropping the most when I caught his dunks. Not a lot of flair, but a lot of just going right over top of guys and flushing it strong.

 
At 8/02/2007 8:09 AM, Blogger Wayne said...

but your team has rented credibility

http://www.u-mad.org/haterz.html

 
At 8/02/2007 9:50 AM, Anonymous ryan said...

in other news, anyone see gil's latest blog post? wow, greatest shark week inspired rant i've ever read.

 
At 8/02/2007 10:25 AM, Anonymous Diesel Kiniesel said...

Shoals, I love you, but why must you shit on my fun?

As a young Celtics fan who hasn't been alive long enough to witness a banner-raising, the story and the tradition have done nothing for me but cast an oppressive shadow over every desperate attempt this team has made to re-define or re-invent itself. In the wake of a tradition of success, failure is that much more pronounced.

The reason its bad to look at it from your perspective is the same reason I avoid getting in pissing-contests with fire hoses. This team has championship rings imprinted on their collective forehead from all the times the legends of Russell and Bird have sucker-punched them into realizations of mediocrity and failure. This team doesn't pretend to be revitalizing the mythlogical beast of its history because that perspective assures failure, just as it would for any NBA franchise. 10 years out of 11 will never be replicated by anyone, so its an irrelevant standard to judge them by.

From an FD perspective, all Boston-bashing aside, how can you not appreciate this storyline? Three superstars escaping the "proverbial cold" together, all accepting the finite nature of their dominance, all understanding that this is the last battle they will fight.

With Brian Scalabrine and undrafted, mysteriously signed rookie Brandan Wallace poised to get serious reserve minutes, even the most optimistic of fans know the odds are still against them. And that's what allows these three paths to converge and realize that they are going to have to play out of their fucking minds to make this happen. Garnett was crazy in perpetually-doomed Minnesota; with a glimmer of hope, don't you think he'll be able to muster up enough enthusiasm and aggression to inspire everyone around him?

It will either be a tale of trascendent vindication or a basketball tragedy, for both the team and the individual. These three deserve it, and a lot of fans, in and out of Boston, will be behind them.

 
At 8/02/2007 10:27 AM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

definitely agree with shoals- this is not about boston. it's not like a star coming in to be the "missing piece." these cats brought their own puzzle, and it's got fuck all to do with boston. not mercenaries- an army that just needed a place to fight its own battle. the only meaningful spot of continuity is pierce, but right now he's reminding me of tony in blue chips, shaving points (sorry) and knocking up girlfriends. he was the best player on a wack team and he's still great and the fans still have him, but it's not his team anymore.

 
At 8/02/2007 10:40 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

According to Henry Abbot, Gilbert stole the shark bit from comedian Ian Edwards. I knew it was too good to be true . . .

 
At 8/02/2007 10:50 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Three places to take a piss? What, you bypassed Salt Lake City?

 
At 8/02/2007 11:09 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

I've got to say: this is a pretty cool movie-like plot. You got three bad ass sheriffs who ran their respective towns, getting together as their prime ends to save the once-great, but now long overrun with gangsters, town. And all they have to back them up is a bunch of the biggest yahoos around, and maybe one young potential sheriff in the wings (Rondo). That's it. Those three against the armies of gangs.

Odds stacked, indeed. I don't care what anyone says, it's too early to give the Celtics the conference. But they did sign Eddie "Take it to the" House yesterday. Talk about adding a gunner....

 
At 8/02/2007 11:22 AM, Blogger Rocco Chappelle said...

GAP <> Mercenaries
GAP = Foreign Legion

 
At 8/02/2007 11:30 AM, Blogger Bongo said...

I know you might hate me for bringing up dreaded football, but I think I have a decent analogy. As an Eagles fan, the years of 2003 and 2004 were similar to what the Celtics (and actually the Mavs) will experience this year. Having lost in the NFC title game multiple teams, the season became about nothing more than that game. The regular season and the first 2 rounds of the playoffs were irrelevant- the only things that could come of them were bad. If we went 16-0 and got to the NFC Title game, still no one would enjoy it until we got past that. This sort of anxiety-ridden fandom is the antithesis of what FreeDarko is all about- correctly. As people that derive pleasure from the small enchantments and nuances of the regular season, and of competitive styles and narratives, this Calvinistic view of the world should be off-putting. Because they are mercenaries, they must win, and this forced mindset sucks. I hate to rain on your parade Boston, and feel free to disagree, but as someone who has gone through this, it's not fun for you and it's not fun for the rest of us.

 
At 8/02/2007 11:53 AM, Blogger Brian said...

I don't believe that Shoals really wants to disparage this trinity at all, and in reality he and Billups would be close together in their feelings. I just think he wants to preserve some special FD-ness in the AI/Melo situation, and is trying to carefully distinguish the two.

 
At 8/02/2007 11:59 AM, Blogger Nate said...

Regarding the Smusher: In 2006 he was definitely the best in game dunker outside of VC. But in 2007, he only had a handful of nice dunks. He pretty much pouted the entire year. I think he was pissed about making 500K as a starting PG.

 
At 8/02/2007 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or maybe he's pissed because his name is Smush

 
At 8/02/2007 1:36 PM, Anonymous ronald james davis said...

when he hits, its usually explosive, or at least over someone. but that being said, i have seen smush lose balls trying to dunk on a breakaway, multiple times. if anything the excitement lies in the tightrope act.

 
At 8/02/2007 2:59 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

the celtics also signed jackie manuel, meaning that an astounding SEVEN players from the 2005 ncaa champion tar heels are in the league. with him, rondo, and tony allen, they should be able to find some solid defense in the backcourt. they still need a veteran point guard, though. i love eddie house, and he's a nice spark off the bench, but a point guard he is not.

we know KG can play defense, but i have to admit i haven't seen enough of perkins to know what his game is like. anyway, it seems like now that boston knows who its starters are (which was a major question before), they can actually make some smart personnel decisions.

 
At 8/02/2007 3:02 PM, Anonymous tom said...

Shoals is exactly right, the Celts have chosen to lease instead of own. They sold their home in the county that may or may not double in value over the next five years to rent a condo in the city. It's what people do when they're antsy and bored, which the Celts definitely were.

 
At 8/02/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

interesting analogy, tom, but people don't often rent condos. ownership is kind of the point of condominiums.

 
At 8/02/2007 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: "signed House" ;

Saw some of House's good and bad games last year. He's relevant.

Saw Boki too. He had some moments of abject terror in the Cleveland series with LaBron James driving on him in an open Court when he was the only man back. Better to think of him in the Raptor series.

 
At 8/02/2007 6:14 PM, Anonymous Will.I.Am said...

it's a beautiful thing, watching Jason Maxiell throw it down. I think, prior to last season he pulled the ol' home-invasion trick on Big Ben, went up in Ben's attic and stole all his mojo. Maxiell attacks that rim like it's got fresh barbecued babies slathered all over it. And you know Maxiell like's dem babies.

to witness the greatness, follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1nQIgv9ssA

Smush don't got anything on MISTER MAXIELL.

 
At 8/02/2007 7:39 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

william: oh, please. even though your link isn't working, I'm fairly certain I remember the dunk you're referencing. look, maxiell is a monster physically, with the potential to be a fine player and no one is denying that. but his games vs. ben and the bulls last year were WAAAY overhyped by pistons fans all atwitter over Maxiell's annointed replacement of ben as their undersized yet fearsome interior player. he didn't steal anyone's mojo. get off it, dude.

besides, amir johnson is going be much better than maxiell. I can't wait for that dude to start melting our brains with his awesomeness next year.

 
At 8/02/2007 7:53 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Smush had his moments as far as in-game dunks go, but as someone earlier commented, he botched quite a large percentage of his attempts. If we're talking all-time small dunkers, my money is on Robert Pack.

Best mix I could find: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9MMZzzbufQ

Too many contest dunks, but includes a quite impressive punch landed on a random Euoleague player.

 
At 8/02/2007 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some stoned NBA fan once told me, "If you put Jason Kidd in the Phoenix Suns lineup for Steve Nash, he would put up similar numbers [aside from 3pt% and steals]". Which got me to thinking, if he played in the San Antonio system, wouldn't he put up Parker-like numbers? Didn't he nearly end up on the Spurs the last time he was a free A?

Also, my inebriated friend mentioned he thought Shawn Marion in the Dallas offense would struggle to score 15 points a game. But he truly believed that, as the catalyst of their defense, he could average 3 blocks and 3 steals a game.

And finally,
"Let me end this with some FD characteristic Boston-bashing: sorry, but your team has rented credibility. This is by no stretch of the imagination a revitalization of the Celtics brand. It isn’t a dynasty, it’s a three-year window. These aren’t lifelong leprechauns, they’re stragglers wandering in from the proverbial cold. You’re still saddled with a brain-addled GM and a subpar coach. And while Simmons’ riff about McHale helping from beyond enemy lines was cute, nothing in this scenario evokes the storied Celtics network. Ainge happened to be in the right place at the right time; it could have happened to any team in the NBA, and it just happened to befall its most decorated. You didn’t will or earn it, and it’s not a reflection on any legacy or organizational culture. If you think it can somehow jumpstart that tradition, you’re putting the chicken before the egg."

That is the finest hatin' I have EVER read on this here blog.

 
At 8/02/2007 8:48 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

i've just re-read and am finally struck by "you're putting the chicken before the egg." i love it as a turned phrase, but is it just meant as a "cart before the horse" replacement, or are you hinting at a whole hopeful way to view this? cause, generally, grade school existentialism (that's not an insult or a comment on your reasoning)still has that chicken/egg business unsorted.

i am not a creationist.

 
At 8/02/2007 11:07 PM, Blogger T. said...

If we're talking all-time small dunkers, my money is on Robert Pack

I see your Robert Pack, and raise you one Kevin Johnson - if only for the one on Hakeem and the one on Hot Rod Williams.

 
At 8/02/2007 11:43 PM, Anonymous ml said...

contrary for the sake of it perhaps?

I agree with KJ also, and would like to know whatever happened to Richard Dumas? he could REALLY throw down.

 
At 8/03/2007 1:40 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

pt--

it was on purpose. there should be a symbiotic relationship between talent acquisition and organizational strength.

seems like the celtics are pretending to have gotten around this. and, to my mind, by picking the wrong one to start with (the cart/horse reference).

 
At 8/03/2007 1:42 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i mean, if you were going to pick just one to start with.

 
At 8/03/2007 1:47 AM, Blogger T. said...

ML - I believe banned from the league, Greece, some minor league ball back in the US then retired.

He was super talented, but liked the nose candy too much

 
At 8/03/2007 2:45 AM, Anonymous ml said...

cheers T, I knew about the coke and the ban, but never knew he got to greece. Would be interested to see some stats of his over there, he was such a phenomenal athlete that it's hard to imagine him not dominating, on the other hand he probably killed all that with the coke..

 
At 8/03/2007 3:23 AM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

quit talkin bout blow.

isla vista lifestyle. who knows about it? isla vista in goleta, ca drinks 1& of alcohol consumed in the US every year.

nyismecca.blogspot.com

 
At 8/03/2007 3:28 AM, Blogger Nate said...

I come to Free Darko for Richard Dumas references. Jeez, I loved that guy in 92-93. The Small Forward combo of Ced Ceballos and Dumas was looking pretty lethal for the Suns that year. Although Ceballos missed all of that year's playoffs because of injuries. Between Thunder Dan, KJ, Dumas, Ceballos, Three point line dunkin (at least in Lakers vs. Celtics) Tom Chambers, a halfway in shape Oliver Miller, and CB34, that team was just ridiculous to watch. 92-93 has to be one of my favorite seasons ever in the league. Knicks/Bulls conference final (and all that came with that). First year of Shaq. Charlotte/Boston in the first Round. Lakers/Suns five game thriller. CB34 series winner over David Robinson. And Bulls/Suns in the Finals.

 
At 8/03/2007 9:23 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

T., you're right, KJ is way up there on the list, especially because of the dunks on Hakeem and Hot Rod. Thought about writing another comment immediately after the Robert Pack one, but figured that one of the knowledgeable readers would mention him anyway.

Pack, much like Stacey Augmon at SF, stands out for me though because he wasn't as high-profile as KJ and because his strange leaning dunks in traffic always appeared on the verge of being blocked. But he shifted his body just enough or strechted his arm a few inches more to avoid a rejection.

Plus his hanging-on-or-swinging-from-the-rim skills are maybe top ten all-time. Very underrated category as far as in-game dunks go.

 
At 8/03/2007 10:50 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Nate, you are absolutely right about '92. I also think that's the year the NBA was still allowing bench clearing brawls, and may have been the same year Greg Anthony came off the Knicks' bench during a fight (againt the Suns? Was it the time Oakley flipped Barkley?) in his suit with his broken hand ready to swing on people.

Since this is my favorite venue to spout off and talk trash: I've decide that Rondo is simply Eddy Curry minus his torso. Long arms, long legs, no shooting ability. In fact, I would probably take Curry in a 3PT shooting contest against Rondo. Maybe a FT contest, too. And yes, I realize this means nothing, I'm just remind everybody that the Celtics 4th best player was unworthy of an SEC single-teaming.

 
At 8/03/2007 11:57 AM, Blogger Nate said...

I remember watching the draft in 1991 and getting excited because I thought I was going to be able to see Stacey Augmon play for the Clippers here in L.A. Yet 5 minutes after drafting him, the Clippers traded him for one Glen "Doc" Rivers. Rivers eventually turned into Mark Jackson (Via a trade with NYK), but I was still pissed that I didn't get to see Plastic Man on local tv in his early years. Thank goodness for TBS, as a lot of Hawks games used to be broadcasts on that station.

 
At 8/03/2007 12:03 PM, Blogger Nate said...

The paper clips also traded McDyess on draft day 95. Imagine a team with Augmon and McDyess on the same squad attacking the rim all night.

 
At 8/03/2007 1:27 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

SML--i share your belief that eddy curry would beat rajon rondo in a 3-point shooting contest. i am strangely confident in this. then again, rondo will without a doubt have more rebounds per minute than curry this year, so it evens out.

 
At 8/03/2007 2:53 PM, Blogger badly drawn boykins (fomerly known as spinachdip) said...

"Greg Anthony came off the Knicks' bench during a fight (againt the Suns? Was it the time Oakley flipped Barkley?) in his suit with his broken hand ready to swing on people."

SML, I seem to remember Anthony wearing a Cosby sweater to go with his cast, but I can't dig up any pictures off Google.

Anyway, the 1992 rookie class was sort of ridiculous - there were Shaq, Zo and Laettner going 1-3, then you had guys like Sprewell, Big Shot Rob, Googs, LaPhonso, Dumas, Oliver Miller, and my favorite, Walt Williams.

Almost as good as the 1996 class with Kobe, AI and Nash.

 
At 8/03/2007 3:38 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqJvGIvWHfI

bucher hears rumors of ron ron to the big apple. the mecca is going to be an absolute nut house this season if artest teams up with starbury and z-bo and co.

 
At 8/03/2007 5:41 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i wasn't sure where you were going with that 1992 draft class. before you said it was almost as good as '96, i was thinking it was notable simply for all the wasted potential (jimmy jackson, laphonso ellis, dumas, googs, the wizard, todd day, baby jordan, DANILOVIC).

 
At 8/04/2007 6:12 AM, Anonymous db said...

Great hating from Shoals. I completely agree, these three are going to succeed but in a way which bears no relationship to the Celtics tradition/genre. Which means that the jump in ticket sales for the Big Ticket is part of the evolution of "Celtics Pride" into something altogether different - being in the game for success. As someone who has always hated everything the Celtics stood for, I can't help but cackle maniacally from time to time about how this "regeneration" of the franchise is actually its dismemberment, at last.

 
At 8/04/2007 10:00 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I wish I could alter reality and bring a young Walt Williams into the league right now. I'm convinced he would be a taller, better passing Joe Johnson. You all made me sad bringing him up.

 
At 8/04/2007 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-garnettrace080307&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

 
At 8/04/2007 4:50 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

simple math shows how this will play out for boston.

for the 3 year window that boston is competing in to win a title:

ray allen + paul pierce > latrell sprewelll + sam cassel

 
At 8/05/2007 1:08 AM, Anonymous Sweat of Ewing said...

But as Hollinger pointed out, is Garnett the same Garnett that played with Spree and Cassell? He's slipped a tiny bit, and I bet the 3 are still better, but it's not 2003 Garnett at this point. Check the rebounding numbers - surest sign of the softening of age.

 
At 8/05/2007 1:20 PM, Anonymous Cougar said...

First off, "rented credibility" is genius smack. Mortgaging the next seven to ten years of a franchise for two players towards their end of their respective primes should not be misinterpreted as proof of Ainge's competency or a return to the basketball elite.
Allen was a consolation prize for unrewarded tanking.
Getting McHale to accept a rag-tag bunch of might-be's and Theo Ratliff is more a comment on McHale's hostility towards rationality. (How is Jefferson and Green better than what G. State was offering?)
This move will keep Ainge at the helm god knows long. This is much like Danny Ferry keeping his job in Cleveland because the 1 pick fell in his lap and someone told him to take Lebron.

As a fan without a favorite team, I don't really care about rings. I have nothing invested in a team's raising of the banner. No point of pride or association with the team's city or area.
While I've quit jobs that interfere with thursday night TNT in January, I've only watched one Finals in the last five or six years.
I just don't care at that point. The players I like have all been eliminated, and, as is FD's credo, all possibility is pretty much already set. Why watch?

However annoying it may be to read, see, hear Boston fans trudge up their "decorated" past, I actually think I could get behind a Celts Finals run. If for no other reason than to possibly catch sight of KG, maybe say in a decisive game 6, having his will to win get so much the better of him that he pops the ball with his teeth.

 
At 8/05/2007 1:29 PM, Anonymous Cougar said...

By the way, once someone decides to give him his rightful minutes, James white will become the league's greatest in-game dunker. Hands down.

 
At 8/05/2007 2:05 PM, Blogger dennislu said...

Regardless of who is the best in-game dunker right now, an asterisk should be placed after his name.
Coby Karl has arrived.

 
At 8/05/2007 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason why Pack was a better in-game dunker than White ever will be, all burn-related issues aside, is a combination of body strength and quick burst. Not only is robert pack more likely to find his why through the lane in the half-court, but he's got the strength to absorb contact going up (I couldn't find the video, but I distinctly remember him being a beast in the old NBA strongman competitions, taking out Oakley in the arm wrestling portion). If White ever attempted his contest material in the half-court against grown men with pride, he'd get broken in half. And he'd be way less likely than Pack to get up with an overhand right for his aggressor.

 

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